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BW Businessworld

Press The Pause Button

In this issue of BW Businessworld, we bring to you an exclusive interview with Amit Burman, Chairman, Dabur and his CEO Mohit Malhotra to see how the company hopes to swim against the tide and reach the ambitious targets it has set for itself.

Photo Credit : Himanshu Kumar

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

The unfortunate suicide of Café Coffee Day founder V.G. Siddhartha has raised too many uncomfortable questions — for the tax authorities, the overall business environment, and the ease of doing business in the country. Siddhartha was worried that he had failed to create a viable business model. Those who knew him remember him as a down-to-earth, humble pioneer who always cared for others.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said during the course of a Parliament debate that “failures shouldn’t be a taboo”. Yes, but we must also raise questions about the tax inspector raj. Many India Inc. leaders, including Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, have spoken out against this, and, in this issue, we also stress the point that no failure is fatal.

At the same time, we firmly believe that steps must be taken to improve the lives and working conditions of our entrepreneurs. There should be an end to hostility from the income tax authorities. Credit should be easily available. There should be a single-window clearance for licences. All this fits neatly into the larger narrative for India as a better destination for business that PM Narendra Modi has so assiduously built over the years.

There are voices of discontent from the ground, however. India is no longer the fastest-growing big economy. India is no longer the fifth-largest economy. A slowdown is for real. The sooner we realise this, the better for all of us. A.M. Naik openly said that if we grow at 6.5 per cent this year, we will be lucky. Deepak Parekh made similar suggestions. So, is there a room for government intervention? Maybe they should push for larger investments in infra, as already committed, and expedite the banking reforms process.

The economy is slowing; auto sales are historically down; the FMCG sector is stressed. In this backdrop, Dabur has seen a change of guard, and has at the helm Amit Burman. We do a deep-dive interaction with him and his CEO Mohit Malhotra to see how the company hopes to swim against the tide and reach the ambitious targets it has set for itself. So Amit Burman is on the first cover this issue.

Have you noticed how not a day passes without the newspaper headlines talking about the looming water crisis? Last year, we had warned in a cover story that many urban centres in the country may run out of water. We do a follow-up this year, and talk to virtually every expert available and get data from every source available. We also talk to the new Jal Shakti minister. While the water crisis threat is for real, we find that there may be an element of exaggeration as well. Having said that, we surely need to undertake measures to ensure that water wastage is avoided, and we recharge groundwater.

This issue of BW Businessworld comes with its regular features and interviews.

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Happy reading!


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